Home > Missions > Regulatory > Permit Types and Process

Permits Types and Processes

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District authorizes work in waters of the United States under four types of permits: State Programmatic General Permits, Nationwide Permits, Letters of Permission, and Individual Permits.

Regional General Permits
In the Baltimore District we use two types of Regional General Permits, State Programmatic General Permits or Nationwide Permits, which are reserved for only the most minor impacts to waters of the United States regulated by the Corps. For projects with potential for substantial environmental impacts, we use either Letters of Permission or Individual Permits.

The level of review increases substantially from Regional General Permit review to Individual Permit Review. Within the Baltimore District, project managers will try to work with applicants to make sure that any impacts to waters or wetlands are avoided to the most practicable extent to best preserve our aquatic resources and to help enable applicants to qualify for the most expeditious review.

State Programmatic General Permits

Maryland State Programmatic General Permit-4 (MDSPGP-4)

MDSPGP-4 (click to access full permit) authorizes work in waters of the United States within the state of Maryland for activities that would cause no more than minimal adverse environmental effects, individually and cumulatively, subject to the permit’s specific terms and conditions. This programmatic general permit has been developed in a cooperative effort with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), which has regulatory authority over waters of the state of Maryland. MDSPGP-4 will expire Sept. 30, 2016. To read more about MDSPGP-4, please visit the Sourcebook.

Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit-5 (PASPGP-5)

PASPGP-5 (click to access full permit) authorizes work in waters of the United States within portions of the state of Pennsylvania for activities that would cause no more than minimal adverse environmental effects, individually and cumulatively, subject to the permit’s specific terms and conditions. This programmatic general permit operates in conjunction with Pennsylvania’s Department of the Environment’s (PADEP) state regulatory program that protects the aquatic environment in a manner equivalent to the Department of the Army regulatory program. PASPGP-5 became effective July 1, 2016, and will expire June 30, 2021.

View the May 2, 2016 public notice regarding the issuance of PASPGP-5

Nationwide Permits
Nationwide Permits (NWPs) are general permits issued on a nationwide basis to authorize minor activities with minimal evaluation time. NWPs have been established to reduce the regulatory reporting burden for specific activities that have no more than minimal impacts to the aquatic environment.

Please NOTE, most NWPs have been suspended in Maryland and Pennsylvania since there are State Programmatic General Permits already in place. On March 19, 2012, the Baltimore District issued a Special Public Notice #12-32 announcing the Final Regional Conditions and Suspension for the 2012 Nationwide Permits in the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within the Baltimore and Philadelphia District’s regulatory geographic boundaries, the District of Columbia, and certain military installations of northern Virginia (i.e., Cameron Station, Fort Belvoir, Fort Myer, and the Pentagon).  

Individual Permits
Individual permits (IPs - also known as a standard permits - SPs) are generally reserved for projects with potential for substantial environmental impacts. An IP requires a full public interest review, including public notices and coordination with involved agencies, interested parties and the general public.

To learn more about each type of permitting process, please visit the Sourcebook.

For our Step-by-Step Application Review Process.

Joint Applications:

The Corps of Engineers has an administrative appeal process whereby applicants and landowners may appeal denied permits, issued permits that contain requirements that are unacceptable to the applicant, or approved jurisdictional determinations. Although these decisions are made by Corps District offices, requests for appeals of such decisions are appealed to the Corps Division offices. Requests for appeal must be furnished to the Division office within 60 days of the date of the appealable decision. A site visit or an appeal conference or meeting may be conducted during the appeal process. A decision on the merits of the appeal based on the administrative record is normally made in 90 days. The Division will either uphold the District decision or send the case back to the District, with direction to make a new decision.

Procedures for appealing Corps permitting decisions are found at 33 CFR Part 331.


How to Apply for a Permit

The application forms used to apply for permits depend on the state in which the work is to be accomplished.

Collapse All Expand All
AQUACULTURE IN MARYLAND: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are accepting Joint Applications for State Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture leases and Corps of Engineers Federal Permits in the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries and the Coastal Bays.  The joint permit application should be submitted to Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Service, Shellfish Program B-2, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401.  The DNR will forward your joint application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must issue a permit before you may conduct shellfish aquaculture activities on your lease.  The Joint State/Federal Application for Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture leases can be downloaded here, with additional information at Maryland's Department of Natural Resources web page on Shellfish Aquaculture Program (http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/oysters/industry/aquaculture/).

For work in the District of Columbia and Maryland, use the attached Maryland Department of the Environment and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Joint Application for construction in any floodplain, waterway or wetlands area.  You may also write or call the office below for an application.

For work in Washington, D.C., mail the application to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Baltimore District - CENAB-OP-RMS
P.O. Box 1715
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-1715
(410) 962-4500

A copy of the application for work in Washington, D.C. should also be sent to:

The Associate Director
Water Quality Division
District Department of the Environment
1200 First Street, N.E., 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20002

Any application for work in Maryland should be mailed to the address below. 

Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Wetlands and Waterways Program
Montgomery Park Business Center
Suite 430
1800 Washington Boulevard
Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708

NOTE:  If sending application, mail it to the attention of Regulatory Services Coordination Office

If you need to contact the office directly, either write at the address listed above or call the following:

Regulatory Services Coordination Office - (410) 537-3762 or (800) 876-0200
Nontidal Wetlands and Waterways Division - (410) 537-3768
Tidal Wetlands Division - (410) 537-3837  

For work in Pennsylvania, use the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Joint Application.  You may obtain a copy of the application from their web site or write or call the office below for an application.  It is important that you provide complete information in the detail requested.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Dams, Waterways and Wetlands
Rachel Carson State Office Building
Market Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105
(717) 787-6827

The Process: After the state or Corps office receives the application, it will be assigned an identification number. Then within 15 days of receipt of all the required information, a determination will be made regarding the type of permit required. Depending on the type of permit process, a public notice will be issued with a 15-day to 30-day comment period, if necessary. The proposal is reviewed by the Corps, general public, special interest groups, and state, local and other related federal agencies. After the comment period, the Corps reviews all comments, and may consult other federal agencies. The Corps may ask you for additional information and conduct a public hearing, if needed. For individual permits, when all considerations are satisfied, the District Engineer makes a decision to either issue or deny the permit application. You will than receive a permit or written explanation of the reason for denial. For State Programmatic General Permits, this federal permit is usually issued along with the State's authorization.

To view the USACE regulatory process flow chart, please click here.